Acting national police commissioner Lieutenant-General Khomotso Phahlane on a tour of the Attlyn Shopping Centre in Atteridgeville, west of Pretoria. Picture: Independent Media

Cape Town – A reign of terror by armed criminals targeting Cape Town businesses continues with four more stores robbed.

A 26-year-old man and a policeman who were shot and wounded during two of the incidents became the first victims in the spate of 13 robberies which started last Thursday.

Mr Calamari in Voortrekker Road and a supermarket in Philippi were targeted on Wednesday night.

And on Thursday thieves struck a Shell garage in Northpine and a store in Wynberg.

Police deny it is the work of a Christmas crime syndicate.

The drama started on Wednesday, at 6.15pm, when police were called to Mr Calamari, in Voortrekker Road, Belmont Park, where three armed robbers, one wearing a bulletproof vest, threatened staff and fled on foot with an undisclosed amount of money.

Police spokesperson Sergeant Noloyiso Rwexana said no arrests have been made yet.

Later, at 8pm, armed robbers hit Thando Supermarket, in Nyamanzi Street, Brown’s Farm, Philippi.

Detectives from Harare SAPS carrying out tracing operations responded and gave chase.

It is believed the robbers opened fire on police, who returned fire.

Police sources say one suspect  was killed and another wounded while an officer was shot in the head.

The officer was in a stable condition on Thurday night.

Spokesman for the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid), Moses Dlamini, didn’t provide details of the incident, but confirmed an investigation is underway.

At 1.10am on Thursday, seven armed robbers stormed the Shell petrol filling station in Northpine and loaded the store’s safe in the back of a bakkie.

One customer was shot and another a staff member was hit in the head.

It is believed Darryl Chippendale, 26, was on his way to work when he stopped at the garage to fill up.

A witness said Chippendale was confronted by the robbers who shot him in the back.

“There were seven robbers who shot someone, and they also whacked a garage worker over the head with a crowbar,” the man said.

“The paramedics were fighting for the life of the man who was shot.

“The robbers arrived with a Chevrolet bakkie, they took the large safe from the shop and struggled to get it onto their bakkie.

“There was not enough room for all of them so they hijacked a customer and took his silver VW Polo.”

Friends confirmed that the vehicle belonged to Chippendale’s mother. He was also robbed of his cellphone and wallet.

On Thursday, management at the garage refused to comment.

The Daily Voice visited Chippendale’s home in Northpine, but was told relatives were at his hospital bedside.

“Suspects fled the scene with an undisclosed amount of money, cigarettes and a silver VW Polo and are yet to be arrested,” said Rwexana.

“A case of attempted murder is under investigation.”

At 10am on Thursday, police were called to Gawsia Mini-Market in Ottery Road, Wynberg, where four robbers held up the shop owner, Alam Shah, at gunpoint.

Alam, a 24-year-old Pakistani national, explained: “I was behind the counter when they walked in pointing the guns at me. The four men demanded I open the safe and took out R20 000 cash, smacking me around,” he said.

“I was not hurt so badly, but my brother and I thought we were going to die.”

Rwexana confirmed the incident, adding that no arrests have been made yet.

On Thursday, acting national police commissioner Khomotso Phahlane tried to downplay fears of a syndicate on a Christmas crime spree, saying the robberies were “sporadic incidents”.

This after incidents at three malls earlier this week at Kenilworth Centre, Vangate Mall and N1 City.

“Let’s not make a mistake in respect of what is widely reported as mall attacks in the Western Cape.

“These are sporadic incidents,” Phahlane told reporters during a tour of the Attlyn Shopping Centre in Atteridgeville, west of Pretoria.

“One [of the targeted entities] was a bakery that was robbed. It was not in a mall. The second one was an ATM robbery before the opening of the mall. Another incident relates to a Pick n Pay where they [robbers] were not even successful. Security responded and the robbers ran away.”

He added: “The impression created is that malls in the Western Cape are under attack. That is not the case. You go in any mall in our country, you will find the police there. It is exactly what we committed to do."